Today's Recipe of the Day comes to us from shetrusts contributor Alana Dillette, as she shares how planning a few healthy meals ahead of time helps to keep her on-track with her goals of balancing a healthy lifestyle with her many day-to-day commitments:
I have been attempting something new (well, new to me at least)… and that something is meal planning. With such a busy schedule involving teaching, classwork, working on my research, babysitting, exercising, etc., I often find myself forgetting about meals until I get ravenously hungry and make my food choices based on my growling belly instead of eating intuitively and choosing items based on the nutrients my body needs. As a result, I am making an effort to prepare lots of yummy food on Sunday that can last me for a few days. I will often cook dinner every other day with my partner Derrick, eating leftovers in between. However, I find that lunches and snacks are what I find most difficult.
After trying Katherine’s Recipe of the Day: Veggie Salad, I have been trying variations of vegetable salads thrown together with stuff I have in my fridge. Every Sunday, I will try a new variation and use it throughout the week in different forms.
This week my salad of choice is a Strawberry Quinoa with Basil Cilantro Vinaigrette. It tastes absolutely delicious and you can use it in so many ways! In addition to tasting great, another plus to using quinoa as a base are its numerous health benefits that come with it being a super grain and it keeps this salad gluten-free (for all you gluten-free nuts out there).
Because these salads have been so useful for me, I figured, why not share the wisdom! Just a note on the “recipe”: you can modify this is so many ways with different veggies, cheeses, nuts, etc. You can even use orzo instead of quinoa if you are not a fan, although orzo will not provide the same amount of nutrients and health benefits, it still works in my book!
Strawberry Quinoa Salad with Basil Cilantro Vinaigrette
¼ cup red quinoa, cooked according to package instructions
5 fresh strawberries, diced
¼ red onion, diced
¼ cucumber, diced
Red, Green, Yellow & Orange bell peppers diced (about a quarter cup of each)
1 small handful of pine nuts
1 small handful goat or feta cheese
Basil Cilantro Vinaigrette (recipe below)
Salt & pepper to taste
Add all ingredients together in a bowl, mix with a large spoon, chill and serve. Salad will last up to 7 days in the fridge.
For the dressing...
¼ cup apple cider vinegar
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 large basil leaves, chopped
5 sprigs cilantro, de-steamed and chopped
1 tsp mustard
1 tsp honey
1 TBSP lemon juice
salt & pepper to taste
Mix all together well, taste before adding to the salad (add ingredients to your taste preference).
Plus, here are some of my suggestions for ways to incorporate this salad into multiple different meals and snacks!
1. Spoon on top of some fresh spinach for a yummy salad with all of your fruit, vegetables and protein, ready to go! Add a piece of chicken or salmon if you want a little more substance.
2. Add to wraps with chicken, fish or turkey for lunch.
3. Eat alone as an afternoon snack (I often get hungry around 4:30PM prior to eating dinner and this is a great and satisfying way to curb that hunger for the next few hours)
4. Add to your eggs in the morning.
5. Add to pasta for a hearty dinner.
…You get my drift, there are endless ways!